What started out as the desire to help my best friend find more meaning in his life and satisfaction with work, became many late nights in a YouTube “k hole” (at least that’s what he calls it). Desperately trying to learn how to motivate and inspire him as quickly as possible, I listened to probably hundreds of TED talks and interviews (often on repeat) about everyday leadership, finding meaning in what you do, and leading a life where you feel like every day counts.
Naturally this quest sent me down my own quarter life crisis, asking myself where I was, and how I lived my life. They always say you get the most fulfillment out of helping others. He was the motivation to start researching these things, yet ironically I haven’t gotten a chance to tell him about anything I've learned or ask him these questions about life.
I stopped writing about six years ago after one of the most character defining moments of my life. I used to write because I didn’t want to forget, but this was an event that I didn’t want to remember. What scares me now is that I’m starting to forget the specifics about this person. Its become harder to remember the jokes that we had, and the gifts that we gave each other. I have to think a little bit harder - a few seconds longer.
What I do have left is wanting to share his story and more importantly his way of life of being open, and truly embracing life’s potential. Love and give to those around you - who you care about - and those who you might care about in the future.
A few months ago I was sharing this feeling that I sometimes have with my best friend’s mom. It feels like this ball of energy - like a tumbleweed you’d find in the beautiful open desert, but completely made up of christmas lights. The white ones. Maybe it’s even on fire. But this magical light-up-tumbleweed only comes out when you need it the most. When someone else is having a hard time, and needs inspiration to continue and find the enjoyment in life - and you quickly scan through your life to reflect to come up with something insightful to share.
When I mentally take a step back, I often realize that I can trace back all of these things that I’ve thought of as isolated events to usually one event. The catalyst never being something I was confident about doing, but long story short, I did it. And then that opened the door to something else, and then again I took a risk. You go. And then the energy just continues. And then pretty soon you find yourself telling your friends that you’re going to a birthday party at a beach condo where you don’t know anyone - and your friends just say - “How did you get invited to that? That’s so random.”
More and more my life has gradually become more “random”. Randomly filled with events with people I haven’t seen in years, who I met at the dog park four years ago. Randomly going to a birthday party of a college friend’s boyfriend, who I had met four years ago (and had seen her maybe five times since 2009). But really when I really dissect it, it isn’t random at all. They are all conscious decisions, often with a bit of encouragement from this best friend (mentioned earlier), attempting to force myself one step up and out of my comfort zone. Always hungry for more of these magical light-up-tumbleweed moments.
But I was telling his mom that it’s hard putting yourself out there. Or it is for me at least. Eventually the lit-up-tumbleweed will stop rolling and will run out of energy, and there will be pain and disappointment. But I choose to take that risk for the chance of something amazing and magical resulting from it. At the time I got the sense that she was looking for change, and looking to grow - and wanted to share this in case she found a hint of inspiration from it. Although she is forty years older, both of us were looking to make a connection with each other, to fill a void that each of us had in our own way. By the end of the night I sensed we accomplished just that. What I regret not telling her at the time was that I found her courage and desire for change extremely inspiring.
By embracing my inexperience, I’m writing again to find my voice again, and to view the world with a more open mind. Try to be more intentional, present, and more giving. And take advantage of the potential to inspire others.